Laparoscopic procedures and percutaneous endoscopic procedures both seem very similar, but are somehow distinct.

I can find plenty of studies comparing the outcomes of the different methods (e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15937831), but I cannot find out what exactly distinguishes a percutaneous endoscopic procedure from a laparoscopic one.

What is the distinguishing factor between the two methods?

2 Answers 2


Percutaneous means "effected, occurring, or performed through the skin"


The difference lies in one of the terms - percutaneous endoscopic procedure - having a more general meaning whereas laparoscopy refers to endoscopic procedures carried out specifically within the abdominal cavity.


Thus a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy [PEG] tube placement could be described as a laparoscopic procedure since it is an endoscopic procedure within the abdominal cavity via a skin incision.


Put simply laparoscopic procedures are percutaneous endoscopic procedures involving organs within the abdominal cavity However percutaneous endoscopic procedures have applications in many other areas of the body.

eg. Percutaneous Endoscopically-Assisted Calcaneal Slide Osteotomy


  • Great answer! Well done and thanks for the references. You can use square brackets [] and round brackets () to change the link text to something of your choice, this might make your answer even more readable!
    – Narusan
    Apr 24, 2017 at 17:53
  • While I agree that laparoscopy is percutaneous by definition, the more I am reading, it seems like all laparoscopic procedures are done by putting the scope in the void of the abdominal cavity to operate on various organs whereas other percutaneous endoscopic procedures involve putting a scope directly within the surgical site of interest. I cannot find definitive resources to back this up though. Apr 24, 2017 at 22:24

Quite simply, a percutaneous surgery or procedure is done by inserting a needle (larger bore than an ordinary hypodermic needle) through the skin. A catheter needle is placed into a blood vessel and a wire, other catheters and other needed devices are threaded through the small hole. It's used in balloon angioplasty, stent placement, cardiac ablation and positioning or replacing lead wires for heart pumps. It always involves going through a blood vessel.

Laparoscopic surgery is considered minimally invasive and involves a surgeon making a small incision in the skin, between 0.5 to 1.5 cm (0.2 to 0.6 inches), further away from the steam to be operated on and using specialized equipment to both light up the internal area worked on and to view the area through a camera linked to an external screen that the surgeon views. Specialized surgical instruments are needed too for the surgeon to reach and manipulate tissue that's at a distance from the small incision.

So basically one is done through a small hole while the other is done through a small incision, although considerably larger than a hole. If you're still unclear, ask in a comment and I'll edit my answer to add more.

  • Since health is an important topic, the site has a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references in order to provide the community with the means to assess the merit of the answer, regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center.
    – Narusan
    Apr 23, 2017 at 10:22
  • Will do so tomorrow afternoon. It's late now.
    – Jude
    Apr 23, 2017 at 10:53
  • 1
    I can find a number of percutaneous endoscopic procedures that do not appear to involve routing through a blood vessel. For example: percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, percutaneous nephrolithitomy, percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy. Going through a blood vessel does not seem to be the distinguishing factor. Apr 23, 2017 at 12:25
  • Been super busy. If you want to make a note that sources are pending, I don't mind.
    – Jude
    Apr 25, 2017 at 2:08
  • Sources have been pending for 5 days now. It'd be great if you could update your answer and include them. This will probably alleviate the issue with the downvotes.
    – Narusan
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:05

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